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Love in Ancient China: Mythological Legends About Love

Mar. 8, 2019

HSK 3 quiz

Who’s in the mood for love? We’ve got a great blog here for you about some of the most famous Chinese “爱情 (aìqíng) love” stories of all time. These historical tales live on in the hearts of all Chinese people and are essential to know about if you’re in love with Chinese culture and language. So let’s take a look!

There are the four most famous and “感动 (gǎndòng) touching” Chinese love stories! They are respectively “孟姜女哭长城 (Mèng Jiāng Nǚ Kū ChángChéng) Lady Meng Jiang’s Bitter Weeping,” “梁山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó Yǔ Zhù Yīngtái) The Butterfly Lovers,” “白蛇传 (Bái Shé Zhuàn) Legend of Lady White Snake” and “牛郎织女 (Niú Láng Zhī Nǚ) the Cowherd and the Weaver Girl.” And today, I will introduce two of them.

I. 梁山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó Yǔ Zhù Yīngtái) The Butterfly Lovers

HSK 3 quiz

This “故事 (gùshì) story” is kind of like the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet! The girl character “祝英台 (Zhù Yīngtái) Zhu Yingtai” wants to go to school in an era where girls aren’t allowed to attend school, so she dresses up as a boy and heads to a faraway city where she meets “梁山伯 (Liáng Shānbó) Liang Shanbo” and falls in love with him.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize it until it’s too late when Zhu Yingtai ‘s parents marry her off to “马文才 (Mǎ Wéncái) Ma Wencai!” Liang Shanbo gets ill and dies, and when his grave is cracked open by lightning, Zhu Yingtai can’t help herself and jumps into the grave with him. The grave reopens and two “蝴蝶 (húdié) butterflies” emerge. Though sad, this romantic story lives on just like Romeo and Juliet do for westerners.

II. 孟姜女哭长城 (Mèng Jiāng Nǚ Kū ChángChéng) Lady Meng Jiang’s Bitter Weeping

HSK 3 quiz

This story is a “悲剧 (bēijù) tragedy” set during the Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qin was in power and “长城 (chángchéng) the Great Wall” was being built. And there was a pair of “夫妻 (fūqī) the couple; lovers,” the woman was named Meng Jiang Nv and the man was named Qi Liang.

Soldiers came one day and took her husband away to work on the wall. She didn’t see him for months upon months, and after having a nightmare about him she went to see him and realized he along with many others had died. She cried on the Great Wall and her sadness was so strong that it caused the wall to collapse, which revealed her husband’s bones. After seeing them she decided to throw herself into the ocean.

Learn More About 长城 (ChángChéng)The Great Wall

For all those students we hope this blog has been informational and interesting! Which story is your favorite? Which Western stories do these Chinese ones remind you of? Leave your comments in the comment section and we wish you Happy Studying!

Key Learning Points:

1. 爱情 (Àiqíng) love

Example:
Liáng Shānbó hé Zhù Yīngtái de aìqíng gùshì guǎng wéi liúchuán.
梁山伯和祝英台的爱情故事广为流传。
The love story of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai is widely known.

Chinese Character: 爱 (Ài) Love (Beginner)

2. 故事 (Gùshì) story

Example:
Tā hěn shàncháng jiǎng gùshì.
她很擅长讲故事。
She is good at telling stories.

3. 蝴蝶 (Húdié) butterfly

Example:
Húdié zài huā cóng zhōng fēi lái fēi qù.
蝴蝶在花丛中飞来飞去。
Butterflies fly in swarms among the flowers.

4. 悲剧 (Bēijù) tragedy

Example:
Hā Mǔ Léi Tè shì yí bù bēijù.
《哈姆雷特》是一部悲剧。
Hamlet is a tragedy.

5. 夫妻 (Fūqī) husband and wife; the couple

Example:
Tāmen fūqī liǎ gǎnqíng hěnhǎo.
他们夫妻俩感情很好。
They are a good couple.

6. 感动 (Gǎndòng) touching

Example:
Tā jiǎng le yí gè lìng rén gǎndòng de gùshì.
他讲了一个令人感动的故事。
He told a touching story.

7. 长城 (Chángchéng) the Great wall

Example:
Zhōngguó de wàn lǐ chángchéng jǔshìwènmíng.
中国的万里长城举世闻名。
The Great Wall of China is world-famous.

HSK 3 quiz
1. Which of the following is not a traditional Chinese story?

A. 罗密欧与朱丽叶 (Luó Mì’ōu Yǔ Zhū Lìyè)

B. 梁山伯与祝英台 (Liáng Shānbó Yǔ Zhù Yīngtái)

C. 白蛇传 (Bái Shé Zhuàn)

D. 牛郎织女 (Niú Láng Zhī Nǚ)

2. After reading the article, which of the following words can generalize the subject of these stories?
A. 友情 (Yǒuqíng)

B. 爱情 (Àiqíng)

C. 亲情 (Qīnqíng)

See Answer Analysis

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